Hockey World League Final: Germany beat England to make winning start
Mats Grambusch and Christopher Ruhr struck a goal each as four-time Olympic champion Germany started their Hockey World League Final campaign with a convincing 2-0 win over England.other sports Updated: Dec 01, 2017 19:58 IST
The spectators at the Kalinga Stadium knew which team to support in the inaugural match of the Hockey World League Final on Friday. Even before the game actually started, a majority of the fans were rooting for two-time Olympic gold-medallists and world champions Germany.
“We support German, we support Germany”, roared the roared in unison, and the Martin Haner-led team didn’t disappoint, notching up a convincing 2-0 win against England, with Mats Grambusch and Christopher Ruhr sharing the spoils.
Playing true to reputation, the world No. 5-ranked team maintained a vice-like group on the proceedings, even as it seemed the England had exhausted all their tactical options by the time the first quarter had ended.
Mark Gleghorne’s hit from the right in the fourth minute of play remained the only notable showing from England, though it hardly tested the German goalkeeper Tobias Walter.
Despite a barren first quarter, it was apparent that England were finding it difficult to hold on to their territory even as German forwards shackled the rival’s key man Barry Middleton, who kept getting fewer opportunities as the game moved into the decisive phase.
Mats Grambusch drew first blood in the 19th minute, guiding an accurate push from Niklas Bruns from inside the circle into goal. Though the goal jolted a complacent England defence and it started making a desperate attempt to push the Germans back with a few quick attacks, the ploy was hardly successful.
Making full use of the momentum, the Germans went all-out and their efforts paid rich dividends within minutes as, in the 25th minute, they doubled the lead through Christopher Ruhr, who shot the ball home from the left after his shot ricocheted from the goalkeeper’s pads.
Despite being down and out, England kept fighting, with Middleton creating quite a few half chances, but a strong German defence kept him tied down.
Germany will now take on world champions and No. 2 side in the world, Australia, in their second Pool B match on Saturday, while England will be up against India.